Anish Kapoor and Grayson Perry called on the U.K. government to support the country’s culture sector amid COVID-19.
U.K. artist Anish Kapoor. Photo by Peter Macdiarmid via Getty Images
More than 400 artists, musicians, actors, and other members of the U.K.’s cultural community have signed a letter urging the country’s government to support cultural institutions and industries that are struggling to stay afloat amidst the economic hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic. Signees include Anish Kapoor, Grayson Perry, Jonathan Pryce, PJ Harvey, and Johnny Marr.
Written by the Creative Industries Federation (CIF), the letter warns that the U.K. could become a “cultural wasteland” without significant financial support for creative professionals and organizations. Many of them, as the letter details, “fall through the gaps of existing government support measures.” The letter cites CIF research that claims one in seven creative organizations will run out money by the end of April, and half will run out by the end of June.
Caroline Norbury, the CEO of CIF, told The Guardian:
While government support measures for businesses and the self-employed are welcome, we know that there are still thousands of creative organizations and freelancers who are falling through the gaps, and who simply will not get through this crisis without urgent cash support.
In the U.S., creative professionals are experiencing a similar lack of support from the government. New York City’s new executive budget includes a 35 percent cut in funding for the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA), which supports arts nonprofits throughout the city. Additionally, the independent emergency relief fund Artist Relief recently released a survey which found that 95 percent of artists have lost income due to the pandemic, with the average decline in income totaling $27,103. The country’s federal stimulus package included just $75 million in funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.